In August last year Tesco became the first supermarket to partner with the food sharing app to provide unsold surplus food fit for consumption to people in the community and prevent it from going to waste.
In the first full year of the partnership OLIO’s network of more than 3,700 Food Waste Heroes has helped to save 5.6m meals from Tesco stores being wasted, with more than 72,000 people benefitting from the food.
The partnership builds on Tesco’s existing food surplus donations programme, including its Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare. That scheme, which has been running since 2016, has provided more than 120 million meals of food to charities and community groups across the UK. FareShare supports frontline charities and community groups working with children – from summer holiday clubs and breakfast clubs to community kitchens, and groups which supply food parcels to those facing food insecurity.
OLIO Food Waste Heroes collect food when charities supported by FareShare are unable to do so and take it back to their homes.
The items are then immediately uploaded onto the OLIO app, ready to be re-distributed free to those living nearby as well as to community groups. OLIO app users can then pick items up, from an agreed, contact-free collection point.
Tesco Head of Communities, Claire De Silva said: “Tesco is committed to tackling food waste and we were confident our partnership with OLIO would help with that, but its impact has exceeded all our expectations.
“For our partnership to have diverted more than 5 million surplus meals from going to waste in its first year is a huge achievement and shows the strength of the partnership between our store colleagues and OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes.”
Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO, said: “Our partnership with Tesco has been a huge success this year, and we’re incredibly proud to have delivered so many meals that would have otherwise been wasted to communities across the UK. Tesco has been a true pioneer.
“But our work is far from done. We hope this partnership encourages other businesses to follow suit and consider how they can take a more proactive approach to minimising waste and supporting local communities. Just imagine what we could achieve if every business followed their lead.”
Tesco has led the way in tackling food waste for many years. It has not sent any food waste to landfill since 2009, and in 2013 Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish its food waste data.